October/November 2001 IBEW Journal
Womens Caucus Inspires Participants, Promotes
Unified voices of IBEW women rose strong, deliberate and
clear as they chanted "New Voices, New Choices/We know
what we can do/We are the future of labor/We know what we
The poem, written by IBEW member Minnie Price, Local 1160,
Marion, Indiana, helped launch the September 7 IBEW Womens
Caucus in San Francisco, a spirited half-day exchange of ideas
on the role of women in the IBEW titled "New Voices,
International President Edwin D. Hill commended those women
with a long history in the IBEW, comparing them to the pioneers
who formed the union 110 years ago. Those women advanced despite
social and economic barriers as well as internal resistance.
"If I have anything to say about it, the days when you
are viewed as women in a mans union should be long past,
and will be relegated to the past," Hill said. "You
must be, should be, and will be, proud, equal members of this
union for as long as the IBEW banner flies high."
Secretary-Treasurer Jerry OConnor also praised the delegates
for their personal activism and challenged the 150 participants
to continue to recruit new members. "When it comes to
organizing, women get it," Secretary-Treasurer OConnor
said. "Activism is nothing new to the women here."
"Herstories," of individual members included that
of Pat Snow, the first woman journeyman inside wireman initiated
into Local 6, San Francisco, in 1977. As a wife and mother
of two, she started her membership with the IBEW by answering
an advertisement seeking electricians that encouraged women
and minorities to apply. Today she heads the largest unit
in the local.
During a particularly rousing portion of the opening program,
Sixth District International Representatives Susie Barber
and Donna Myron rallied the audience. In unison they shouted,
"Im a voice for the union. I am the union!"
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